Get ready, tax time 2021 is fast approaching, the ATO noted it will be focusing on work-related expenses such as car and travel expenses.

While the ATO annual statistics releases are usually quite dry and technical, it does give a nice insight into why the ATO does what they do at tax time.

For example, just in the first half of 2021, the ATO has been targeting individual taxpayers with various data matching programs on rental properties, motor vehicles, residency and contractor payments to name just a few.

With the release of the latest taxation statistics showing that individual tax collections account for more than half of all taxes collected in Australia, the intensity and frequency of these data-matching programs now make more sense.

It should also come as no surprise that with tax time 2021 fast approaching, the ATO is keeping a close eye on the individual’s sector with warnings to not overclaim on deductions this year.

Specifically, the ATO will be focusing on work-related expenses such as car and travel expenses which its reasons will decrease due to restrictions on travel and a large proportion of the population working from home as a result of COVID-19.

According to the ATO, around 8.5m individuals claimed around $19.4bn in work-related expenses in their 2020 tax returns. The value of car and travel expenses claimed in 2020 decreased by 5.5% compared to 2019, however, there was an understandable increase of 2.6% in clothing expenses due to claims for hand sanitiser and face masks.

The ATO notes that it will be using data analytics to single out unusually high claims this tax time, particularly if an individual’s deductions are much higher than others with a similar job and income.

It will also be on the lookout for individuals claiming significant working from home expenses while at the same time maintaining or increasing their claims for car, travel or clothing deductions. Individuals with legitimate increases in car, travel or clothing expenses along with significant work from home expenses can still deduct these expenses provided that they have evidence or contemporaneous records supporting their claims.

The ATO also notes that it will be “sympathetic to legitimate mistakes where good faith efforts have been made”. As a reminder, the ATO notes that the temporary shortcut method of 80c per hour (all inclusive rate) for working from home expenses has been extended to apply for the full 2020-21 financial year. Although a timesheet, roster or diary entry indicating the number of hours worked needs to be kept as evidence.

In addition, those individuals predominately working from home and only undertaking occasional travel to their places of work are unable to claim the cost of travel from home to work as it is still considered to be private or domestic.


Book an appointment with Garnet Business Services today

Book an appointment with Garnet Business Services today

Interested in reading our other articles then head over to and choose something that interests you at

Want to discuss your personal situation, I’d be more than happy to assist.

Simply click the Booking button below or email me directly to start the conversation.

Email –